A Week in the Life: Zaycon chicken, clothes shopping and homemade dryer sheets

by Melody on April 23, 2013

Welcome to a Week in the Life.  Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money or time.  Or both.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.


Shopping for kids clothes and gear

I’ll be perfectly honest, my kids’ grandparents buy them more clothes than they possibly need, so clothes shopping isn’t high on my list.  What I do is go through their clothes every season and note some of the more important pieces we need, like snow boots, swim trunks, heavy jackets and shoes.

Twice a year, we attend the Columbia Community Church children’s consignment sale in Richland and I “try” to stick to the items we really need.  Going in with a focused list helps us narrow down our purchases and we find items at far, far below retail price.  We were out of town for this last sale, but I was able to send my friend Sarah with a short list and she scored for us.  She picked up a pair of Gymboree swim trunks and a pair of Skechers sneakers for just $9 total!  Because we were intentional about our purchases and bought before we truly were desperate for them, we saved a ton of money.  This would also work for yard sales, thrift stores and more.


Saving on dryer sheets

I have been wanting to try making my own fabric softener for quite some time now, so when we ran out of dryer sheets, I decided to get the party started.  Since I randomly had a bottle of fabric softener in the laundry room (this never happens!), I decided to start there.  I soaked a washcloth in fabric softener and let it dry completely.  Once it was dry, I threw it in with a load of clothes to dry.  When I fold a load of laundry, I just pluck out the washcloth and toss it back in the dryer for the next load.  With each full soak, I am able to get anywhere from 12-15 full loads.  Honestly, this has worked far better at removing static than a traditional dryer sheet!

Since I don’t generally buy fabric softener, next step is to make my own using vinegar and hair conditioner.  Has anyone tried it?

PicMonkey Collage

What to do with 40 pounds of chicken?

Our Zaycon Foods chicken order was available to pick up recently while we were in Las Vegas.  Again, Sarah to the rescue!  She picked up my chicken along with hers and hung on to it for me until we got back.  Because the first thing everyone wants to do when they get back from Vegas is process 40 pounds of chicken.

Honestly, it was pretty quick this time around.  I threw about five pounds in the crock pot with two cans of organic diced tomatoes and cooked on low for about 4 hours (longer if you have an older crock).  Once it was done, I shredded the chicken and froze with the juices to keep on hand for emergency protein.  I also baked about four pounds with some spicy steak seasoning (350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes).  I kept this in the fridge for salads, easy lunches and snacks.

With the rest of the chicken, I just trimmed the fat, separated the breasts and froze 3 to one gallon Ziploc bag.  The whole process only took me about an hour and we now have a freezer full of chicken that we bought at an amazing price.

If you aren’t familiar with Zaycon Foods, they have wonderful events throughout the year where they sell chicken, ground beef, sausage and more in large quantities at awesome prices.  Sign up for a free account so you can be notified of upcoming events.  If you did order and are looking for ideas on how to prepare your chicken, check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.

Extremely Important Questions

Have you ever made your own fabric softener?  What did you think?

Did you order Zaycon chicken this time around?  How do you process it?  Do you prefer to cook and prepare it all before freezing?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie April 23, 2013 at 7:43 am

I live in Las Vegas, and we get Zaycon here too 🙂
We have a small vacuum sealer, so we seal about 3 breasts per bag, and usually add italian dressing or salsa before sealing. We seal them raw and cook when needed.

Never made my own fabric softener, but sounds intriguing!


Jennifer April 23, 2013 at 7:51 am

I have tried the vinegar-conditioner recipe, but felt that the additional cost of the conditioner was not necessary. I am currently using plain vinegar in the rinse cycle. The vinegar smell dissipates once the clothes are dry. To eliminate static cling, I use homemade wool dryer balls and I hang all non-cotton items to air dry. This method has saved me a lot of money, plus it has eliminated chemicals that have aggravated my family’s allergies.

I read your blog daily during breakfast. Love it! Thanks!


MaryBeth April 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

I’ve been using the conditioner/vinegar fabric softener for about 6 months and I love it! The conditioner isn’t too big of an extra expense, since I often use the cheap Suave or another one I can get cheap/free with coupons. Besides the little bit I do spend on conditioner is still cheaper than a bottle of fabric softener at the store and I’m much happier using this homemade version


Christina April 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

My favorite thing to do with Zaycon chicken is to do a marinade trade with friends. Last time, I made thee different marinades for four people. One for me and three for the trade. What I ended up with was 12 different marinades for my raw chicken that I then froze together. I thought the best part would be trying new marinades but it turns out I had twelve per planned meals and I just had to go to the freezer and choose!


Katharine April 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

I don’t make my own fabric softener, I use the sheets. However, everytime I do a load, I only use 1/2 a sheet. I just rip one sheet in half, put half in the dryer, and save the other 1/2 for my next load. It takes me MONTHS to go through a box of dryer sheets.


Trina April 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Great idea to make your own dryer “sheet”, Melody!


Maegen April 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

I’ll share my Zaycon story, because I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

I currently have a part time teaching job. I picked up my chicken on the way, figuring I could store it in my classroom fridge until the end of the day (Yes, there is a fridge in my room). Sooo….after trying, and failing, to get the thing on the hand cart, I carried it to my 2nd floor classroom. Yes, I was sweating when my students arrived.

Punch line: I lugged the thing back down at the end of the day, put it in my trunk, picked up my kids at their school, drove home, and promptly forgot the box in the car for two hours until my hubby (thank Goodness) came home and asked about it. It was still cold, so I decided it was just fine, but I thought that was pretty darn funny after all the trouble I’d gone to lugging it up and down a flight of stairs and looking like a crazy person!

I pretty much do what you do for the packaging, except we invested in a food saver a while back, and my hubby does most of the packaging. I’ve found it to really need minimal prep-in fact, I don’t usually trim it at all.

I did try making a few freezer recipes this time, but I never do as many as I imagine.


Melody April 24, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I love it! Glad the Zaycon chicken is at least worth it after all that. 🙂

Everytime I place my order, I get grand ambitions to make all kinds of freezer meals and have a written plan. Then the week comes and life is crazy (as usual), so it usually just gets frozen in gallon bags after sitting in the fridge for a few days. Always ambitious and rarely follow through!


Joyell April 25, 2013 at 9:06 am

I just use vinegar and lavender oil. I put about 50 drops of oil into a gallon of vinegar from Costco. The lavender oil isn’t necessary by any means, but it keeps the vinegar smell down a little bit. Yes, it comes out anyway once the clothes are dry, but I like the added scent. And I use the wool dryer balls as well 🙂 You can take an old wool sweater or blanket and make your own.


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Denise January 4, 2014 at 7:54 pm

have you ever tried dryer balls! they will last you for years, you can keep them in your dryer, and you can even add scent (with essential oils) if you like. couldn’t be easier! here are the brand i have. http://thewillowstore.com/shop/reusawool-dryer-balls/


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